Contrary to what you may initially think, “ghosting” has nothing to do with Halloween. It is an alarming trend becoming increasingly common in the workforce. To “ghost,” which means to suddenly stop responding or simply not show up, has become an all-too-common symptom in the HR world. According to US Today, candidates are “ghosting” interviews (and even the first day of work!). However, it’s not just potential employees who are not responding to potential employers; ghosting can go both ways. Every job seeker has experienced the sting of no response from a potential employer. What can be done to combat this frustrating, discouraging and damaging problem affecting the work force? How can we avoid making this the new normal? I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating…..

Candidates and companies alike are simply not responding to huge numbers of inquiries, emails and phone calls. In an era where applying to a job can be as simple as a single click, more applications are sent and received than ever before. Many of these candidates have found that a majority of their applications get no responses at all, and their dozens or even hundreds of job applications can yield a number of responses that can be counted on one hand. What’s worse is how many candidates are sharing stories of never hearing back, even after an interview! 

Employers are also suffering. In a world where companies can and do simply stop replying, hiring managers are finding that their phone calls and emails also go unanswered. Candidates also are ‘disappearing’ after being interviewed!  This trend is unhealthy for all parties involved and is leading to widespread distrust among both employers and employees.  

The easiest step to begin to remedy this unfortunate trend is to always reply to candidates. It takes no more than twenty seconds to respond to an applicant. Candidates appreciate honesty, and even if the news is less than positive, everyone surely prefers a negative answer to an empty inbox. How you treat applicants is indicative of how you treat employees, and non-responsiveness does not bode well. Besides word-of-mouth, websites, like Glassdoor, also spread personal experiences of the job hiring process of many firms. If a company becomes known as a “ghosting” hotspot, qualified candidates are sure to look elsewhere for positions. 

They say it takes just 20 seconds of courage to change your own or someone else’s life. You need just a single moment of bravery and compassion to tell an applicant that they just aren’t the right fit. It’s a minimal investment of time and energy to do the right thing and give a candidate closure. Adding a human touch and taking just a bit of time to politely respond to all candidates you interview can only reflect well on you and your company, and, in the end, benefit you along with the overall atmosphere of the hiring process. 

If you want to maintain a positive image in your industry, take just 20 seconds to respond to candidates! Take 20 seconds to create a simple form email confirming that the application was received, and another form email letting the candidate know you’re moving in a different direction.  It may take some time and patience, but it is a necessary practice to put an end to the ghosting epidemic!  Remember, everyone that interviews with your company is a potential customer.  Be sure you make a positive lasting impression instead of a negative one. 

It’s true; one can do nearly anything for just 20 seconds. Why not take advantage of this to write that email or make that call, and end the vicious cycle of ghosting? Be the first to make a difference!